Black Friday shopping – Successes and Fails

As I mentioned previously, I fell victim to buying all the things during Black Friday.  The deals really got me and I have no shame for the amount of stuff that I purchased. Throughout the week following Thanksgiving, all of my package started arriving and it was like Christmas every single day but not really because I bought it myself.  It actually got to a point where I couldn’t always remember what I had purchased and what was arriving.

Here are my success and fails in terms of what I purchased:

  • Skyroam wifi: Have you heard about this? It’s basically pocket wifi that works in 130 countries! After looking into other things like Google Fi, I think that soon I’ll probably no longer need Skyroam but for now, I am super excited to have this in preparation for my trips.  The day pass is $1 cheaper than what my cell provider for unlimited data over a period of 24 hours.  But the Black Friday sale gave me 10 days free so not only did I get the little wifi thing for myself, but I got 10 days free which means that I now have the device/powerbank for all my travels and I am able to use it on my trip to Asia this year. This will be a new thing for me considering I usually fly by the seat of my pants and don’t connect to data.
  • Skincare products: After turning 30, I’ve decided that I want to do better about taking care of my skin. I’ve been working really hard to test out new product offerings and trying see what really works for my skin. Now that it’s winter, I know that I need more moisturizing products because my skin is really suffering.  So I have a few products from Claudlie and Clinque that I’ll be trying.  Obviously, I won’t know if this one is a success for a few weeks but I am excited, especially because everything is travel size so I can bring it with me on all of my trips.
  • A velvet shirt: This needs to be returned. Why I bought a velvet shirt, no one will ever really know. I thought that it was something I’d want to wear all the time because it’s soft and it looked cute.  But that thing is basically a crop top for me so it needs to go back.
  • A pj set: I bought a flannel pj set. I’m still undecided on whether I want to keep it or not but I think that I will probably end up returning it.  It doesn’t really fit me that well so I think that I will return it for something else that is much more my style when it comes to sleeping.
  • An Instapot: AH! I am so excited. I want to start cooking and meal prepping for work so that I stop going out to eat all the time.  The food offerings around the office are great but let’s be honest, I spend way too much money on food that isn’t necessarily healthy or really that great for me. So I need more varieties so that I can eat all the foods and be healthy about my consumption decisions.
  • Leggings: These are very specific leggings. I bought the Oiselle bird hug leggings again. When I say again, I really mean I bought my second pair. I got my first pair and then immediately put them on, sat at my computer after they arrived and purchased my second pair of them.  If you haven’t tried these, you are missing out. Plus they seem to repel dog hair which is great!
  • Turtleneck sweaters: The weather is starting to get cold and I think that we’re going to have a cold but mildly dry winter which means that I need all the warm clothing possible. I am so excited about sweaters and I’ve been looking for some good sweaters, luckily Nordstrom had a great deal this time around for them.
  • An Aritzia Puffer Jacket: I have the Everlane super long puffer that they released last year and it is amazing but it keeps me way too warm when it’s only 35 degrees outside. The Aritzia puffer was on super sale and is the same length as my Everlane one but is definitely more light weight so I am very happy with that purchase. Plus I finally branched out from my standard black jackets and got something dark red/burgundy to spice up my wardrobe. I cannot wait to bust this out and see how it works in the weather.

Overall, I am pretty proud of the purchases I made and cannot wait to test them all out.  To be honest, the Instapot might be my number one purchase. Yes, it may even beat out the Skyroam pocket wifi.  We shall see how this all goes.

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Social Media Purge

I’ve decided that I want to try a new challenge this month. I’ve been big on the whole 30 day challenges, and when I say that I’ve been big on it I’ve done like two. My step goal and then reading.  But I think that this will be my new thing, in an effort to form better habits and be healthier, I am going to do more 30 day challenges and document them.  Obviously in addition to documenting all my travels.

My new challenge for December is minimizing my social media presence and how much time I spend on social media as a whole.  Why am I doing this? I’ve started noticing that in order to fill my time, I’ve resorted to checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my main staples of entertainment.  I don’t necessarily feel like I am experiencing any sort of mental shift because of it but I am curious to see if maybe it’s just been so subtle that I didn’t realize I’ve had a major case of FOMO or feeling the need to show off.  I’m not quite sure.  But, I spend so much time checking my phone and checking to see how many likes I’ve received on things that I’ve posted and I want to get away from that.  I don’t think I need the validation of social media users to prove that I am living a good life. I’ve been reading so many articles lately about how social media has started changing the way people think, the way they behave and how it’s really shaped society today so I’m curious to see if I can break the spell for myself.

I was inspired by a few articles that I’ve been reading about people who have deleted the apps from their phones and people who have flat out deleted their accounts.  I must admit that both of those seem drastic to me.  I may be trying to justify making this challenge easier for myself, but here’s why I’m not deleting my apps or my accounts: a large portion of my friends have moved away and social media is the way to stay on top of their lives without constantly having to text them, especially now as they’re having kids and aren’t necessarily as connected to their phones.  Along with that, my core friend group uses things like FB messenger to keep tabs on each other rather than texting because the whole Android vs iOS battle really messes with our phones. Lastly, I love having a place where I can post photos and keep documentation of what I’m doing and my life.

So here is my plan of attack:

I am going to move my social media accounts into a folder rather than have them all spread out separately on my phone (I have an iPhone so you can image the little boxes full of apps).  I am just going to admit it now that I know I have an addiction to Instagram so that one app is going to stay outside of the box.  But the goal with moving Facebook and Twitter will be to stop me from using them as time wasters.  I don’t post a lot in either and the apps are literally just on my phone so that I can scroll through them mindlessly when I’m bored.  So my expectation is that if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  The goal for this month is to only go into Facebook and Twitter if I have notifications totaling a maximum of 15 minutes a week per app. The goal for Instagram is going to be a little different. I found the “your activity on Instagram” metrics on the app so I can see what my average is per week.  My goal here is to go from 45 minutes a day to decrease it by 5 minutes a week so that eventually I only spend 25 minutes a day.  If I can do this in the month of December, I’d love to get it to a point where I am only on Instagram for maybe 5-7 minutes a day and then maybe just a few times a week to do a check in.

Wish me luck!

Black Friday Shopping

I have decided that I am the perfect target for all forms of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a bit of a problem but it’s a problem I am actually okay with. This Black Friday, I spent the morning scouring the internet for all sorts of deals to see what I could get and surprisingly enough I spent money on practical items. I didn’t think that I would actually get to a point where all my purchases would be all practical items and I feel pretty proud of myself.

That being said, I spent a decent chunk of money because I also realized that I was only a few weeks away from my big trip and I hadn’t purchased any flights or hotels.  So I used Black Friday as an opportunity to find some discounts through Expedia to get cheaper hotels and flights.  But unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of money because I was pairing all of my shopping with the travel bookings.

It’s interesting because what I learned through this entire experience is that I feel more than okay purchasing hotels and flights. In fact, when it is time for me to pull the trigger on a travel experience, it is so very easy for me to decide that it is something I want. When it comes to purchasing anything really tangible, I have a hard time actually making the purchase. Usually I will put a million things in my cart, and then continually shop around until I decide what I want.  This usually ends up with me removing a bunch of items from my cart and then purchasing about one item total.

I remember back when I decided that I wanted to purchase a vacuum for my apartment – I shopped around for days and months and couldn’t pull the trigger to purchase one.  Even though Target had one for about $50 that could do a quick loop around my tiny apartment. I still couldn’t get myself to actually purchase the vacuum until I absolutely needed it because I hadn’t vacuumed my apartment in months.  But on the other hand, I purchase flights without hesitation.  It’s kind of surprising but to be honest, I am totally okay with it. I feel like this allows me to maintain a minimal lifestyle with what I own and I get to experience all the great things.

Anyway, I am so very excited for all my packages to start appearing for the things that I purchased.  I know that there’s a possibility I will return a decent amount of these items but I love opening packages.

Vessi sneakers – updated November

I’ve officially had my Vessi sneakers for a few months now and have actually had the opportunity to wear them during the rain.  Surprisingly enough, Seattle hasn’t had a crazy amount of rain but it’s been great to test out the shoes on a regular basis.  Here are my thoughts:

  • These shoes are actually really comfortable. They do advertise that these shoes will be great for all four seasons but I don’t think I believe that.  Living in Seattle, I think these will work for me but if I lived somewhere that had snow – these shoes would not be great.  They are comfortable but I would never use them for actual fitness activities like running or hiking.  Even light hiking wouldn’t work well with these shoes in my opinion because you can definitely tell that for the fact that they are lightweight, you have to take the trade off of being able to feel things when you step on them.  If you’re hitting the trails in LA, you’ll be fine. If you’re hitting the trails with rocks in the Pacific Northwest, then you’ll have a problem.
  • Yes, the shoes are waterproof but if it turns out you walk heavy on your heels or walk in a way in which water can be kicked up, you’ll get your shoes wet.
  • If you buy the white shoes – they will not stay white.  You’d think that being waterproof, the shoes would be able to withstand getting dirty but that is not the case.  I have two friends who purchased the white ones and they are now just gray/brown. It’s unfortunate.
  • The shoes are still a little hard to put on but you get used to it after awhile. I found that if I put the shoes on while I’m sitting, it is a little easier.
  • If you walk inside after walking in the rain or puddles – be prepared to be heard by everyone. My shoes squeak so much for a solid few minutes immediately after walking into the building. I try so very hard to wipe off my feet as much as possible on the entrance rug in my office but the entire office can hear me a mile away.
  • The black ones are easier to manage and keep clean. I wear them when I walk the dog and have had zero issues with getting them dirty which seems strange after the white ones.

Overall, I would definitely more of these shoes. They’re pretty great.

What am I thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving. And holy cow has 2018 been a whirlwind of a year.  I am not entirely sure about everything that I’ve seen and experienced this year but to follow tradition, here’s a list of some of the stuff that I am so very thankful this year:

  • My family. I get my love of travel from my parents, I get my love of adventure from my parents.  I get my love of music and books from my sister.  I don’t know if it’s possible to be more thankful for my family.
  • My friends. I know that when I first moved back, I was fearful that coming back would be hard because everyone’s lives had moved on without me but I have the best and most amazing friends in the entire world. It’s been so easy to be back in Seattle and it’s been so easy to maintain the friendships that I have with people all around the world.  I can never really express in words how much I love each and every one of them.
  • My health. Yes, I say this like I am an old person. But this year, I ran 13 miles in one go. Yes, I walked for a portion of it but nothing moved me forward except for my own two feet and my own body. I managed to do it on my own.
  • My ability to travel. I love that I can wander the world and see what it has to offer. I love that I can go to cities where my friends are and visit them.
  • Books. I have finished 53 books so far this year. 53 books of adventures, stories, truths, lessons, and so much more. Things that have challenged me mentally and changed my life for the better.
  • The lessons I’ve learned. Things haven’t always been easy and things won’t always be easy. I understand this and I’m prepared to try and battle it the best I can. That being said, I’m happy where I am and with who I am today. I have no complaints and I will continually try to do better.

What are you thankful for?

Malibu Half Marathon

The day of our Malibu Half Marathon, we woke up at 4AM and then drove out to Zuma Beach to get ready for our half marathon. We arrived at dark which meant that we had the chance to watch the most beautiful sunrise while we were standing along the Malibu coastline. Since we were there about two hours earlier than the race starting, we were ended up standing around taking photos and letting the anticipation build up of having to run 13.1 miles.

We eventually lined up and I decided that I would run in wave 2 which was the 2 to 2:30 group. When it was finally time to start running, we crossed the starting line and I began my 13.1 mile trek.

I first started the right next to the 2:20 pacers and started moving forward. I tried so hard to keep pace and make sure I was keeping steady but kept finding myself moving forward a little faster and eventually I was past the 2:10 pacers and catching up to the 2 hour pacers.  I never quite made it to them but I stayed well ahead of the 2:10 pacers for about 8 miles.

Around mile 5, I started seeing my friends on their way back from turnaround which meant that they were well over half way. I saw a steady stream of my friends running past me which encouraged me because it meant that I was closer to the turnaround which would mean that I was almost half way through.

When I hit mile 6, I had to start walking.  Running up the rolling hills really were getting to me and I had a hard time keeping pace up the hills and that’s when I started breaking down. The heat started getting to me, the hills were kicking my butt and I was starting to feel demotivated.  The 30 minutes I had planned between each of my energy chews felt longer and longer and I kept checking my watch which didn’t help with my motivation. By the time I hit mile 8, the 2:10 pacers had paced me and I knew that I was slowing down drastically.

At mile 9, I hit my wall. And by hitting my wall, I mean I ran face first into a wall of sadness and depression. I’ve heard about this wall but I have never experienced it before. This wall led me to walking and to the point of crying. All I wanted to do was cry and stop. I felt my eyes tearing up, my legs giving away and the blister on my feet starting to form. I felt demotivated, and my mind started to wander away from me into a very dark place. I wanted to call an Uber or a Lyft to come and pick me up, I almost wanted to stop by one of the volunteers and ask for help to get me a ride back to the finish line. I couldn’t stop thinking about how disappointed I would be when I didn’t finish, I kept telling myself that I regretted everything and that I wanted to end this. I was going to be an embarrassment to all of my friends and I couldn’t believe I had let people convince me to do this. That’s right, my wall led me to stop taking responsibility for my own actions and that’s when I realized what I was doing.  I realized that I was in a bad place and I had to move my butt and finish.

Around mile 10, I started running again, slowly but I started running again. The 2:20 pacers passed me, my legs started throbbing more than they have ever throbbed, my knees and hips started screaming but I needed to continue moving so I did. I tried to speed up and pass the 2:20 pacers, so I passed them around mile 11 but at mile 12, I was done.

I saw the line of spectators for mile 12 and so I started running again but I couldn’t catch up to the 2:20 pacers at this point but I knew I had to finish strong. I passed the last line of spectators and there was a brief moment where the we had to turn back around and there were no spectators so I started walking again.  As soon as I was within view of the fences, I started running again and eventually made my way across the finish line.

I ended with an end time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

It was terrible but so good at the same time. It was terrible because everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down. But it was so good because I had just run 13.1 miles and I had finally finished something I never thought I could ever do.

I ran a half marathon

That’s all I have to report.

Actually no, I have so much more to report. I ran a half marathon and I feel crazy.

I decided in August that I was going to run a half marathon because my friends were doing it. I remember the day we decided to do this, we were sitting around the dining table in LA and we decided as a group to run the Malibu Half Marathon in November. So a group of us in Seattle bought tickets to LA for that weekend and signed up for the half marathon.

Leading up to that run, I only half prepared myself to run thirteen miles. But as we got closer to November, I started upping my mileage and not really following a training plan as much as just trying to run more miles. I got to 7 miles then I eventually got to 9 miles and then two weeks before my race, I needed to prove to myself that I could get to double digits in preparation for the race itself. I got to 11.6 miles and I knew that I could do it. I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles or at least run 11.6, then walk the last mile and a half. So after that, I only did one run and really enjoyed the tapering weeks.

On Friday, we flew in Burbank, sat down for our carbo load dinner of homemade delicious pasta and then prepared ourselves for the weekend. The entire weekend was spent with people that I adore and we tried to be off of our feet as much as possible. Even though a bunch of fun activities, I knew that running 13.1 miles was running through the back of my mind the entire time and I was getting more and more nervous.

On Saturday we spent our time eating regular food, going to the beach and eating decently healthy food that night.  We didn’t do anything too strenuous because we needed to make sure we conserved our energy for our run.

I would say that even though I had run 11.6 miles leading up to this run, I felt entirely unprepared.  I regretted not working out more or running more leading up to this run and the fear was really setting in prior to the run.

The things that were running through my head:

  • Would I even finish?
  • What time would I finish in?
  • Would I get blisters?
  • What if I don’t finish?

I knew that leading up to this race, I had actually done really well with time and had finished my long run with an average pace of 10:04 per mile so I thought that I could actually average that for my overall 13.1 mile run. I personally told everyone that my goal was to get done before the car had to pick me up so I would need to average a 17:45 mile. But deep down, I wanted to do well. I wanted my adrenaline to kick in and that I would actually maintain the 10 minute mile or even be better than a 10 minute mile. I wanted so badly to actually get done in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was a goal I didn’t share with anyone but it was what I wanted to do.

But the closer we go tot he race, the more I wasn’t sure this was actually going to happen. The nerves were really setting in but what I wanted to believe was that my adrenaline would kick in and I would do so well.

Along with that, I was running this with four other friends and we had a cheer squad so I wanted to make sure I ended at a decent time so that people wouldn’t be waiting for me for too long. I had this fear of embarrassment of making everyone wait for me for longer than necessary. I definitely had a fear of embarrassment and I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could do this. But I kept wavering between believing I could do this and being terrified of failing epically…

Brief hiatus

Wow, without realizing it, I got a bit overwhelmed with life and took a brief hiatus from writing. In fact, I actually took a brief hiatus from a lot of things in my life in a good way. Things got very busy with work, traveling and my personal life that I lost track of time and what I usually do when I am trying to stay on track.

In between my last post and now, I’ve spent about half of my time in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco thus making it hard for me to focus on my life here in Seattle. That being said, no part of me is complaining about being in LA and SF because I made the decision to stay the weekends there to see my friends and so that means that I had a chance to actually catch up with people I haven’t seen in months.

So, now, I am back.

That being said, with the travel and the activities that I’ve been up to – my life feels a bit more chaotic and I’ve broken most of my good habits. Everything I was doing so well at have gone to the wayside and I haven’t been keeping a focus on things that keep me back on track.

I will admit that everything I had worked so hard on over the last few months since the new year have stopped because I’ve let my hectic schedule get in the way of all of my routines. It’s time to get back into the routine of being productive.

Things I look forward to in the fall

Now that it is almost October, I am so excited for all things autumn related. Like, absurdly excited. Seattle had a beautiful spring/summer season this year. We barely had any rain and it was super hot most of the summer.  The skies were blue, the grass turned brown from the lack of water, the temperatures kept everything nice and toasty.  The amount of people dealing with air conditioning units and fans increased. In fact, my fan was consistently running every night because otherwise I would have a hard time sleeping.

But now that we are at the point where it’s almost October, the weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing, the clouds are getting dark and the sun is disappearing.

Here are the things I’m looking forward to the most for this fall season:

  • Large and oversized sweaters – I love my giant sweaters. I wish I could live in giant sweaters all day every day. I cannot wait to bust these out and live in them for the next few months.
  • Booties – yes, I love booties.  Sometimes it’s weird to wear them during the summer unless you have the right outfit. But now I get to justify wearing them all day every day.
  • Fuzzy blankets – I have this fuzzy blanket that I keep on my couch and I love curling up with it to take a nap.  In the summer, it’s difficult to do because it gets to hot so now that it’s cooling down, I can curl up all day long.
  • Burrito-ing in my bed – I love wrapping myself in my blankets when I go to bed. In the summer it gets too hot so now I can bundle up.
  • Peppermint Mochas – I am not a PSL person. I love the peppermint mochas and everything peppermint related.
  • Color of the leaves – while I love the blues and greens of Seattle, nothing really compare to seeing the leaves changing colors and signifying that it is officially fall.
  • Soups and noodle soups – I plan on eating all the pho and ramen I can now that the weather is changing
  • Hot beverages in general – iced beverages give you less liquid cause places give you way too much
  • Darker colors – I love my darker colors and darker colored clothing
  • No sunglasses – I always forget my sunglasses and now I don’t need to worry
  • Books – curling up in the warmth of my home and reading makes me so happy. When it’s too hot outside, I fall asleep too easily.

Finding your people

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on life and especially life back in Seattle.  As mentioned before, I moved back to Seattle over a year ago and recently started the whole online dating thing to try and meet new people. What I didn’t realize was that this experience would remind me of just how luck I am to have all of my friends in my life and how luck I am to have people who are so supportive of every decision I’ve made so far. That being said, I’ve been having lots of conversations with people about the friends in my life and what we do on a regular basis. Talking about it and thinking about it, I feel like if you had talked to me about it five or six years ago, I probably wouldn’t think that what I do now is really that cool.

I remember when I was younger, I felt the need to be doing the most social things and I felt that I needed to be cool. But that being said, nowadays, what we’re doing is all that I really care about. I don’t care if it’s really that interesting or if it’s that cool because it makes me happy. At this point in time, I’ve seen so many people do things for the ‘gram’ and for posting all over social media which really kind of makes things very different. I feel like things that I’m doing with my friends and family should really just be for me and us to enjoy. It shouldn’t be for other people’s viewing pleasure.  While I may actually post it on social media, it’s less about trying to show I’m cool but rather just showing the fun things that are happening in my life.

When I think about it all, I’ve realized that I’ve found my people. I found the people that I can show up to brunch with to go over the awesome books that we’ve read.  That I can have brunch surrounded by amazing people who love to read as much as I do. I’ve found the people I can sit and watch trashy television with on a regular basis.  I’ve found the people that I can text every awkward moment that happens in my life. The people who appreciate the awkward spellings of my name, the people who I can celebrate every win with. The people who will help me swipe through the online dating profiles. I’ve found the people who will give me so much crap for how terrible my fantasy football team is. The people that I can legitimately cry to without explaining why I’m crying. I have found the people where I can tell them one thing and no questions asked, they will defend me and be supportive.

I feel so honored and lucky to meet so many amazing people in my life. I know that I have a tendency to rant and rave about how awesome my friends are but sometimes, I just feel like I need to put it out there in the universe.  Because sometimes, I just don’t think there’s enough time in the world to call each and every single one of them to tell them how much I adore them.